The Panthers had just completed the season with a heartbreaking loss to Warren Central in the Fourth Region tournament and it was believed that coach Pardue would stay on as the a while longer.
But with the announcement on Friday, that was not the case.
“It’s been eight years since I started here, and with Davis graduating, I felt the timing was right to step away for a little bit to view some other opportunities I may have in my life,” former RHS head coach Dennis Pardue said.
The Panthers have enjoyed success under Pardue as he guided Russellville to the region tournament in each of his eight years. Pardue took over the program after having a lot of success at Todd County Central. He went 142-90 in the regular season as the coach of the Panthers. Overall at both Todd County and Russellville, coach Pardue compiled a 247-146 record but the most memorable win probably had to have come this year in the district title game, where they beat cross town rivals Logan County to secure his sixth district title of his career, third at Russellville.
“Going out as a winner did factor into the decision, I mean it was here, Davis had an unbelievable game and something we can always remember and cherish,” former coach Pardue said.
In his eight year run here at Russellville, the Panthers always found themselves matched up against Bowling Green or Warren Central in the Region 4 tournament.
“We looked back the past 8 years and we’ve played either Bowling Green or Warren Central six of the past eight years in the first round in the other two times Bowling Green, or Warren Central was the team that knocked us out,” former coach Pardue said. “It wasn’t like we were the only team that couldn’t beat Warren Central or Bowling Green, nobody else in our region could either. Russellville was the last team to go to the state tournament outside of District 14.”
Coach Pardue was hired after coach Phil Todd stepped down in 2004. Pardue came into Russellville looking not to replace coach Todd, but to further enhance the tradition that coach Todd built at Russellville.
“What coach Todd did here was amazing. I wasn’t hired to replace coach Todd, I was hired to continue the tradition here,” Pardue said. “One of our biggest supporters was coach Todd. I can’t say enough what coach Todd has meant to me and my staff throughout the year.”
Pardue coached countless athletes throughout his tenure as a head coach. And with the surprise announcement a lot of his former players reached out to him.
“The biggest compliments any of the players made to me, was ‘You may not be our coach anymore, but to me you’ll always be our coach,’ and I think that says it all right there,” coach Pardue said.
He will be leaving a Russellville team that is returning a lot of starters for next season. They will be picked by numerous media outlets as the district favorites again. Whoever steps into the position will be inheriting a program that coach Pardue helped construct. At the moment Russellville has not identified anybody as lead candidates and is open to all applicants.